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Biogenic minerals are widely studied materials for their particular properties derived from their hierarchical structure, using building blocks with sizes spanning several orders of magnitude. These special features can be assessed with different analytical tools, and it is important to know their capabilities and limitations. In order to determine the hierarchical structure of the shells, the nacre and prismatic layers of two marine animals were characterized by infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy. Based on these assessments, we found that the combination of these three techniques is useful to describe each structure level, and to explain some of the unique properties observed in these natural materials.
Traditionally, personalised nutrition was delivered at an individual level. However, the concept of delivering tailored dietary advice at a group level through the identification of metabotypes or groups of metabolically similar individuals has emerged. Although this approach to personalised nutrition looks promising, further work is needed to examine this concept across a wider population group. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to: (1) identify metabotypes in a European population and (2) develop targeted dietary advice solutions for these metabotypes. Using data from the Food4Me study (n 1607), k-means cluster analysis revealed the presence of three metabolically distinct clusters based on twenty-seven metabolic markers including cholesterol, individual fatty acids and carotenoids. Cluster 2 was identified as a metabolically healthy metabotype as these individuals had the highest Omega-3 Index (6·56 (sd 1·29) %), carotenoids (2·15 (sd 0·71) µm) and lowest total saturated fat levels. On the basis of its fatty acid profile, cluster 1 was characterised as a metabolically unhealthy cluster. Targeted dietary advice solutions were developed per cluster using a decision tree approach. Testing of the approach was performed by comparison with the personalised dietary advice, delivered by nutritionists to Food4Me study participants (n 180). Excellent agreement was observed between the targeted and individualised approaches with an average match of 82 % at the level of delivery of the same dietary message. Future work should ascertain whether this proposed method could be utilised in a healthcare setting, for the rapid and efficient delivery of tailored dietary advice solutions.
There is still much to learn about pollination ecology in areas of high species diversity, such as the Neotropical region. For example, the role of non-flying mammals in pollination is largely unknown in the Neotropical areas, despite the importance of this group in the pollination of plants in other regions. Here we report evidence for flower visitation by a rodent to Oreocallis grandiflora (Proteaceae) in our study site in the southern Andes of Ecuador. For a period of 241 h, camcorders equipped with infrared lights revealed 22 occurrences of floral visitation by Microryzomys altissimus (Cricetidae) to inflorescences of O. grandiflora. Pollen samples taken from the fur of captured individuals showed that M. altissimus carries pollen of O. grandiflora, indicating a potential pollinator role for the rodent. This is the first record of flower visitation by a rodent in the Neotropical Andes. Pollination interactions between non-flying mammals and Proteaceae have been reported in other southern hemisphere continents. This study underscores the need for more research on pollination interactions in the Neotropics, especially in critical Andean biodiversity hotspots.
To characterise clusters of individuals based on adherence to dietary recommendations and to determine whether changes in Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores in response to a personalised nutrition (PN) intervention varied between clusters.
Food4Me study participants were clustered according to whether their baseline dietary intakes met European dietary recommendations. Changes in HEI scores between baseline and month 6 were compared between clusters and stratified by whether individuals received generalised or PN advice.
Individuals in cluster 1 (C1) met all recommended intakes except for red meat, those in cluster 2 (C2) met two recommendations, and those in cluster 3 (C3) and cluster 4 (C4) met one recommendation each. C1 had higher intakes of white fish, beans and lentils and low-fat dairy products and lower percentage energy intake from SFA (P<0·05). C2 consumed less chips and pizza and fried foods than C3 and C4 (P<0·05). C1 were lighter, had lower BMI and waist circumference than C3 and were more physically active than C4 (P<0·05). More individuals in C4 were smokers and wanted to lose weight than in C1 (P<0·05). Individuals who received PN advice in C4 reported greater improvements in HEI compared with C3 and C1 (P<0·05).
The cluster where the fewest recommendations were met (C4) reported greater improvements in HEI following a 6-month trial of PN whereas there was no difference between clusters for those randomised to the Control, non-personalised dietary intervention.
To characterise participants who dropped out of the Food4Me Proof-of-Principle study.
The Food4Me study was an Internet-based, 6-month, four-arm, randomised controlled trial. The control group received generalised dietary and lifestyle recommendations, whereas participants randomised to three different levels of personalised nutrition (PN) received advice based on dietary, phenotypic and/or genotypic data, respectively (with either more or less frequent feedback).
Seven recruitment sites: UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Poland and Greece.
Adults aged 18–79 years (n 1607).
A total of 337 (21 %) participants dropped out during the intervention. At baseline, dropouts had higher BMI (0·5 kg/m2; P<0·001). Attrition did not differ significantly between individuals receiving generalised dietary guidelines (Control) and those randomised to PN. Participants were more likely to drop out (OR; 95 % CI) if they received more frequent feedback (1·81; 1·36, 2·41; P<0·001), were female (1·38; 1·06, 1·78; P=0·015), less than 45 years old (2·57; 1·95, 3·39; P<0·001) and obese (2·25; 1·47, 3·43; P<0·001). Attrition was more likely in participants who reported an interest in losing weight (1·53; 1·19, 1·97; P<0·001) or skipping meals (1·75; 1·16, 2·65; P=0·008), and less likely if participants claimed to eat healthily frequently (0·62; 0·45, 0·86; P=0·003).
Attrition did not differ between participants receiving generalised or PN advice but more frequent feedback was related to attrition for those randomised to PN interventions. Better strategies are required to minimise dropouts among younger and obese individuals participating in PN interventions and more frequent feedback may be an unnecessary burden.
With HST and WFPC2, galaxies in the Medium Deep Survey can be reliably classified to magnitudes I814 ≲ 22.0 in the F814W band, at a mean redshift . The main result is the relatively high proportion (~40%) of objects which are in some way irregular or anomalous, and which are of relevance in understanding the origin of the familiar excess population of faint galaxies. These diverse objects include compact galaxies, apparently interacting pairs, galaxies with superluminous starforming regions and diffuse low surface brightness galaxies of various forms. The ‘irregulars’ and ‘peculiar’ galaxies contribute most of the excess counts in the I-band at our limiting magnitude, and may explain the ‘faint blue galaxy’ problem.
I deficiency is still a worldwide public health problem, with children being especially vulnerable. No nationwide study had been conducted to assess the I status of Spanish children, and thus an observational, multicentre and cross-sectional study was conducted in Spain to assess the I status and thyroid function in schoolchildren aged 6–7 years. The median urinary I (UI) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in whole blood were used to assess the I status and thyroid function, respectively. A FFQ was used to determine the consumption of I-rich foods. A total of 1981 schoolchildren (52 % male) were included. The median UI was 173 μg/l, and 17·9 % of children showed UI<100 μg/l. The median UI was higher in males (180·8 v. 153·6 μg/l; P<0·001). Iodised salt (IS) intake at home was 69·8 %. IS consumption and intakes of ≥2 glasses of milk or 1 cup of yogurt/d were associated with significantly higher median UI. Median TSH was 0·90 mU/l and was higher in females (0·98 v. 0·83; P<0·001). In total, 0·5 % of children had known hypothyroidism (derived from the questionnaire) and 7·6 % had TSH levels above reference values. Median TSH was higher in schoolchildren with family history of hypothyroidism. I intake was adequate in Spanish schoolchildren. However, no correlation was found between TSH and median UI in any geographical area. The prevalence of TSH above reference values was high and its association with thyroid autoimmunity should be determined. Further assessment of thyroid autoimmunity in Spanish schoolchildren is desirable.
The interplay between the fat mass- and obesity-associated (FTO) gene variants and diet has been implicated in the development of obesity. The aim of the present analysis was to investigate associations between FTO genotype, dietary intakes and anthropometrics among European adults. Participants in the Food4Me randomised controlled trial were genotyped for FTO genotype (rs9939609) and their dietary intakes, and diet quality scores (Healthy Eating Index and PREDIMED-based Mediterranean diet score) were estimated from FFQ. Relationships between FTO genotype, diet and anthropometrics (weight, waist circumference (WC) and BMI) were evaluated at baseline. European adults with the FTO risk genotype had greater WC (AAv. TT: +1·4 cm; P=0·003) and BMI (+0·9 kg/m2; P=0·001) than individuals with no risk alleles. Subjects with the lowest fried food consumption and two copies of the FTO risk variant had on average 1·4 kg/m2 greater BMI (Ptrend=0·028) and 3·1 cm greater WC (Ptrend=0·045) compared with individuals with no copies of the risk allele and with the lowest fried food consumption. However, there was no evidence of interactions between FTO genotype and dietary intakes on BMI and WC, and thus further research is required to confirm or refute these findings.
An efficient and robust method to measure vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) and 25-hydroxy vitamin D2 in dried blood spots (DBS) has been developed and applied in the pan-European multi-centre, internet-based, personalised nutrition intervention study Food4Me. The method includes calibration with blood containing endogenous 25(OH)D3, spotted as DBS and corrected for haematocrit content. The methodology was validated following international standards. The performance characteristics did not reach those of the current gold standard liquid chromatography-MS/MS in plasma for all parameters, but were found to be very suitable for status-level determination under field conditions. DBS sample quality was very high, and 3778 measurements of 25(OH)D3 were obtained from 1465 participants. The study centre and the season within the study centre were very good predictors of 25(OH)D3 levels (P<0·001 for each case). Seasonal effects were modelled by fitting a sine function with a minimum 25(OH)D3 level on 20 January and a maximum on 21 July. The seasonal amplitude varied from centre to centre. The largest difference between winter and summer levels was found in Germany and the smallest in Poland. The model was cross-validated to determine the consistency of the predictions and the performance of the DBS method. The Pearson’s correlation between the measured values and the predicted values was r 0·65, and the sd of their differences was 21·2 nmol/l. This includes the analytical variation and the biological variation within subjects. Overall, DBS obtained by unsupervised sampling of the participants at home was a viable methodology for obtaining vitamin D status information in a large nutritional study.
Galaxy nuclei are a unique laboratory to study gas flows. Their high-resolution imaging in galactic nuclei are instrumental in the study of the fueling and feedback of star formation and nuclear activity in nearby galaxies. Several fueling mechanisms can now be confronted in detail with observations done with state-of-the-art interferometers. Furthermore, the study of gas flows in galactic nuclei can probe the feedback of activity on the interstellar medium of galaxies. Feedback action from star formation and AGN activity is invoked to prevent galaxies from becoming overly massive, but also to explain scaling laws like black hole (BH)-bulge mass correlations and the bimodal color distribution of galaxies. This close relationship between galaxies and their central supermassive BH can be described as co-evolution. There is mounting observational evidence for the existence of gas outflows in different populations of starbursts and active galaxies, a manifestation of the feedback of activity. We summarize the main results recently obtained from the observation of galactic inflows and outflows in a variety of active galaxies with current millimeter interferometers such as ALMA or the IRAM array.
This work presents an analysis of UV spectroscopic observations from the IRIS satellite of an M1.0 class flare occurred on 12 June 2014 in active region NOAA 12087. Our analysis of the IRIS spectra and Slit-Jaw images revealed presence of a strongly redshifted chromospheric jet before the flare. We also found strong emission of the chromospheric lines, and studied the C II 1334.5 Å line emission distribution in details. A blueshift of the Fe XXI line across the flaring region corresponds to evaporation flows of the hot chromospheric plasma with a speed of 50 km/s. Although the enhancement of the C II line integrated redshift correlates with the flare X-ray emission, we classify the evaporation as of a “gentle” type because of its long time scale and subsonic velocities. Analysis of X-ray data from the RHESSI satellite showed that both, an injection of accelerated particles and a heat flux from the energy release site can explain the energetics of the observed event.
The Antennae galaxies are a spectacular example of a burst of star formation triggered by the encounter of two galaxies, being an ideal source to understand how the dynamics of galaxy mergers drives star formation. We present archive ALMA CO(3−2) and VLT near-IR H2 spectro-imaging observations, and new ALMA 13CO(2−1) and dust continuum observations, at ~50 pc resolution. Combining tracers of density and velocity structure of the gas and its energetics, we demonstrate that star formation involves a complex interplay of merger-driven gas dynamics and turbulence, and the dissipation of the gas kinetic energy. We focus on a compact, bright H2 source, associated with cold molecular gas and dust continuum emission, located where the velocity gradient in the interaction region is observed to be the largest. The characteristics of this source suggest that we are witnessing the formation, initiated by turbulent dissipation, of a cloud massive enough (~4×106M⊙) to form a super star cluster within 1 Myr.
Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), an analogue of carbon nanotube (CNT) is one of the most used non-metallic materials in high technology applications related to thin film fabrications. Taking advantage of their unique properties such as electrically non-conductive, thermally conductive, and high hardness, it has been used in high-temperature electronic devices, multifunctional aerospace materials, and structures and electric and aerospace systems. The main goal of this project was to use BNNTs in the fabrication of nano epoxycomposites to enhance their thermal and mechanical properties to use it for applications in aerospace constituents. In order to accomplish this goal, BNNTs were functionalized with isopherone diisocyante (IPDC). Surface analysis techniques were employed to ensure the modification BNNTs and study the interface of the reinforced composites before and after the modification. Mechanical and thermal conductivity testing was performed in order to understand the quality of the composites. Three different nanocomposites were accomplished with hBN and BNNTs using two different epoxy polymers and three curing agents. The systems EPON 862/Curing Agent W/ (hBN or BNNTs) have Tgs and tan deltas higher compared with those fabricated at the same conditions without nanoparticles. The fabricated BN composites showed improved physical properties due to their particle dispersion and boron nitrite intermolecular interactions with the epoxy polymer.
We report the observation of spatial ordering of clusters that leads to a spinodal-type scaling of the structure factor S(q), in the 3D simulations of diffusion-limited colloid aggregation. We are able to clearly identify the peak in S(q) as arising from the correlation between particles belonging to nearest neighbor clusters. The S(q) has a terminal shape that corresponds to a close-packing of the clusters after gelation, in a concentration range larger than the one found in recent experiments.
Tributyrin (TBT) is a TAG composed of three butyric acids that has beneficial effects on ulcerative colitis due to its trophic, anti-inflammatory, pro-apoptotic and anti-carcinogenic properties. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and mechanisms of action of TBT supplementation in the prevention of mucosal damage in experimental colitis. Mice received either a control diet or a TBT-supplemented diet for 15 d. Colitis was induced by dextran sodium sulphate administration during the last 7 d. Mucosal damage and the activation of immune cells and cytokines were determined by histological score, flow cytometry and ELISA. Leucocyte rolling and adhesion were assessed by intravital microscopy. Oxidative stress was determined by monitoring hydroperoxide concentration and evaluating superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activities. Intestinal permeability was analysed using diethylenetriaminepentaacetate acid (99mTcDTPA). Compared with the colitis group, the animals in the colitis+TBT group had reduced mucosal damage and neutrophil and eosinophil mucosal infiltration, which were associated with a higher percentage of regulatory T cells (Treg) and higher levels of transforming growth factor β and IL-10 in the lamina propria. The level of in vivo leucocyte adhesion in the colon microvasculature was reduced after TBT supplementation. A lower level of hydroperoxide and higher levels of SOD and catalase activities were associated with TBT supplementation. TBT-supplemented mice showed reduced intestinal permeability to the levels intermediate between the control and colitis groups. In conclusion, the present results show that TBT has positive effects on colonic restructuring in experimental colitis. Additionally, TBT supplementation changes the immune response by controlling inflammation and regulating the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines and Treg.
We report the growth of structurally continuous, pinhole-free epitaxial YSi2−xfilms on Si(l1l) substrates as thin as 30Å. This is accomplished by depositing both yttrium andsiicon in the appropriate stoichiometric ratio onto substrates held near room temperature, which is apparently below the activation energy for the nucleation of a reaction between a deposited Y film and a Si substrate. Diffusion of Si atoms from an evaporation source into a thin Y layer occurs below this barrier energy, allowing the layer by layer formation of YSi2−x without the removal of silicon from the substrate, maintaining a relatively low interface free energy between the growing silicide film and the Si(lll) substrate. Samples have been annealed to 500-900°C to improve epitaxy without the creation of pinholes. Use of the template method allows for the growth of thicker films also free of pinholes.
We have used high resolution grazing incidence x-ray scattering (GIXS) to study the in-plane and out-of-plane structure of epitaxial YSi2-x films grown on Si (111), with thicknesses ranging from 85Å to 510Å. Our results indicate that the films are strained, and that film strain increases as a function of thickness, with lattice parameters varying from a = 3.846Å/c = 4.142Å for the 85Å film to a = 3.877Å/c = 4.121Å for the 510Å film. We correlate these results with an increase in pinhole areal coverage as a function of thickness. In addition, our measurements show no evidence for the existence of ordered silicon vacancies in the films.
Secondary ion mass spectroscopy has been used to study the effects of rapid thermal processing on the formation of tetragonal tungsten disilicide thin films on Si(100), p-type 5 Omaga;, cm wafers. The substrates were chemically etched, followed by an RF sputter depostion of 710Å W metal. The samples were then fast radiatively processed in an RTP system for time intervals ranging from 15 to 45 seconds at high temperature (∼1100°C) under high vacuum.
The redistribution of the boron dopant concentration profile is studied and shows that boron moves from the Si-substrate into the growing Wsi2 film, eventually escaping into the vacuum. Oxygen is the major impurity in these samples and its removal from the interface has been shown to improve the quality of the silicide film. Trace quantities of F, Cl, Na, K, C and Cr have also been detected.